Mary Scheyder is a vibrant screenwriter whose journey from game programming to storytelling captures her unique spirit and dedication to her craft. Inspired by her brother and fueled by her passion for transforming intricate ideas into compelling screenplays, Mary's transition from the corporate world to the creative realm is a testament to her relentless pursuit of her dreams. Celebrating her goal of completing 10 screenplays by Christmas, Mary's story is a beacon of inspiration, showcasing the power of embracing one's true calling with enthusiasm and determination.
This is Mary Scheyder...
I grew up in southeastern Connecticut with interests in theater, choir and film. I received my undergrad at Champlain College in Vermont, graduating with a B.S. in Game Programming and a minor in Foreign Languages. I then went on to work in finance as a Quantitative Analyst and Business Intelligence Developer.
Leaving the corporate world in 2022, I pursued a variety of creative interests, taking classes in acting, stunts, modeling, music production, film production and screenwriting. I’ve modeled for brands such as Stealth Bros & Co. and got my first IMDb credit playing Olivia Franklin on Equal Justice with Eboni K. Williams.
My current goal is to have 10 finished screenplays by Christmas.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
I learned about screenwriting from my brother who went to film school.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
I’ve never felt more alive than when researching and outlining a project, trying to take a massive amount of information and fit it into the structure and style of a screenplay. I was a programmer for many years and writing screenplays feels like writing the code for a film.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
My brother taught me how to write screenplays and has been kind enough to read my drafts and give feedback. We’ve collaborated on multiple projects for the better part of a decade.
Enter the Script Summit
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter when I was working on my last script, adapting the story of a real person’s life. I was excited by the idea of telling someone’s story in a way that could get people as excited as I was after reading multiple books and primary source documents about the person.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
I would define success as having the discipline to keep writing and working on my craft regardless of whatever external successes do or do not come. It’s more about getting better each day. “The reward for our work is not what we get, but what we become” - Paulo Coelho
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
I like to get up early and start writing for a few hours in the morning. Then I usually get to the gym and spend more of my afternoon relaxing and connecting with family or friends. I like to wind down for the day with a hot shower and some reading.
Q: How do you define a successful day?
I would define a successful day as one where I did something creative, challenged myself physically, learned something new, and did something intentionally to relax.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Learning how to break a story or fit a large narrative into the beats of a screenplay has been a really useful skill. Being able to decipher which facts equate to scenes and which scenes are important turning points in the story has been really helpful.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Sitting down to write! I love researching and outlining, so beginning the script itself is the part where I usually feel the most resistance.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
The greatest reward is being able to have people read my work and laugh at a joke or feel inspired by something that inspired me. Getting to share those emotions and have them translate, even to people that aren’t used to reading screenplays, is a great reward.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
I’m fascinated by the idea of learning all the rules so that you can choose when to break them. I want to treat screenwriting as a science and then get so good at it that people who have never read a screenplay before still can’t put it down. I want to talk about the details of the craft as well as the broad strokes of storytelling. They all matter and they’re all things we can never know too much about.